James Webb Space Telescope is next chapter for ‘mega-science’

The most complex scientific spacecraft ever built reaches its destination a million miles away

James Webb Space Telescope is next chapter for ‘mega-science’As the James Webb Space Telescope reaches its destination, a million miles from Earth, University of Alberta space historian Robert Smith will be watching almost as closely as scientists in NASA’s control room. Smith has staked his career on documenting every phase of the Webb and Hubble telescopes over the past four decades and is recognized as the on-the-scene historian…

BLM’s attack on empiricism – and capitalism

Even Obama is accused of claiming that black people are an inferior racial group

BLM’s attack on empiricism – and capitalismThe following is an excerpt from The Victim Cult: How The Grievance Culture Hurts Everyone And Wrecks Civilizations by Mark Milke. In this excerpt, Milke details how the “new” definition of racism from Ibram X. Kendi and others hollow out hard facts and reasoned analyses when a monocausal explanation – racism – is offered up…

A religious upbringing leads to healthier kids

Psychoanalyst Dr. Erica Komisar advises atheists to profess a belief in God for the good of their kids

A religious upbringing leads to healthier kidsEveryone remembers the children’s fable about a chicken called “Chicken Little” or “Henny Penny” who believes that the sky is falling when an acorn falls on its head. While the phrase “the sky is falling” is now something of a cliche, it pops up, now and again, especially during pandemic times. Raising or working with…

Sometimes demographic ‘facts’ aren’t quite what they seem

Much of what’s presented as news now is better described as narrative spinning

Sometimes demographic ‘facts’ aren’t quite what they seemIf you follow American news, you’ve probably come across many assertions that by mid-century the United States is set to become a “majority-minority” country. For the first time since its founding, whites will no longer form a majority of the population. This has been greeted with a range of reactions. Some people are dismayed, or…

Jordan Abel’s memoir, Nishga, probes a dark history

A personal story of intergenerational trauma that was almost too painful to write

Jordan Abel’s memoir, Nishga, probes a dark historyThere were times Jordan Abel wished he’d never started Nishga, the memoir that earned him a nomination for Canada’s biggest non-fiction honour, the Hilary Weston Prize. Writing the book was just too painful, he said. It probes the darkest moments of his family’s history, particularly “the wake of violence that ripples outwards” from the Coqualeetza Industrial Institute,…

Revisiting Christopher Jencks, a liberal willing to shift his position

An appetite for empirical data and a willingness to challenge received wisdom

Revisiting Christopher Jencks, a liberal willing to shift his positionAmong the activities associated with moving house is the trawl through possessions you haven’t seriously looked at in years. Books are a prime example. In the process, I reacquainted myself with American social scientist Christopher Jencks. Born in 1936, Jencks began his career working at the liberal magazine The New Republic and the left-leaning Institute…

Defence lawyer pulls no punches in new memoir

Marie Henein is unapologetic and controversial, largely due to her defence of Jian Ghomeshi

Defence lawyer pulls no punches in new memoirIf you buy criminal defence lawyer Marie Henein’s new memoir hoping for the inside scoop on her high profile cases, you’ll be disappointed. Ethically, she considers those details off limits, confined there by the parameters of the lawyer-client relationship. However interesting the stories might be, Henein believes they aren’t hers to tell. They belong to…

The messy transition to a ‘new world disorder’

Multiple nations are jockeying for power

The messy transition to a ‘new world disorder’International politics expert Andy Knight is working on a new book about the changing face of global governance and the transition to a new world order. Tentatively titled International Organization Today, the book will examine how the world has evolved from a simple system of international governance, driven mainly by the United Nations, to its current state of multilateral…

We need a Plan B to deal with climate change

Adapting to a changing climate is the only feasible option

We need a Plan B to deal with climate changeDrawing heavily from physicist Steven Koonin’s recent book – Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters – my last column looked at some of the challenges involved in getting to global carbon-free by mid-century. Koonin actually calls it “a practical impossibility.” Now let’s talk about contingency planning. If carbon…

The road to a carbon-free future will be rougher than we thought

If aspirations and reality collide, always bet on reality

The road to a carbon-free future will be rougher than we thoughtIf you’ve been following international news lately, you’ll have noticed a new development. Europe and Asia are suddenly worried about energy. With winter coming, costs are soaring and there’s even concern about shortages that might trigger industrial shutdowns and endanger people’s ability to heat their homes. From an object of loathing and scorn, fossil fuels…